Can a Rajon Rondo and Marcus Smart backcourt exist?

When I previously have spoken about the Celtics I was pretty sure that with the acquisition of Marcus Smart we would have to trade Rondo. After really thinking about it, and doing some reading on it, I don’t think that may have to be the case. Smart is 6’4 and 220ibs with a 6’9 wingspan and plays tenacious defense, he can score from anywhere on the court, though his most efficient when taking mid range shots and using his body to get to basket, and he has great basketball IQ. Rondo is a pass first guard, who’s long and lengthy as well making him a great defender, and a walking triple double machine. With both Rondo and Smart being skilled enough to guard the 1-3 they’ll be know doubt that as a defensive unit they would be downright scary to play against, but what about offensively? Rondo has never had a perimeter game, but through out the years his improved year after year at knocking down that mid range jumper when teams go under on the pick and roll. Though because of the old school Celtics day when Rondo would dribble the ball for most of the shot clock then find someone to pass it too who would immediately turn to score he does have a tendency to hold onto the ball for too long at times, but with Smart on the floor and playing with guys that actually have a chance to get their own shot if you dump it to them early those days should be behind him. Also Rondo can play off the ball at times too and let Smart run the point while he posts up smaller guards or gets his teammates set up. The offense has the opportunity to be more fluent because Rondo knows his not the only ball handler on the court which has usually been the case since his been here. In terms of Smart because of his elite size and scoring ability the transition to the two guard will not be hard, he knows how to come off screens, he can use the pick effectively he has the skill to knock down the mid range and take contact at the rim while finishing, and he has the ability to make it from distance. For Smart the main concern is shot selection, he can shoot the ball effectively, but he takes a lot of bad shots which are a direct correlation to his low shooting percentages. Once he learns his spots, Rondo will be able to find him on catch and shoot situations, and Smart will be able to get Rondo the ball the rare times where he wants to score. All in all the two players together would make a very talented, and strong backcourt that with a Young wing in the grooming in James Young, Rising star forwards in Kelly Olynk, and Jared Sullinger this Celtics team is a good center away from being a competitive team.  

Rondo Trade Destinations

With Lebron going to back home and Bosh going back to Miami the FA period is about to start heating up. Teams will look to capitalize on second tier free agents, and with Melo reportedly thinking between either New York and Chicago the rest of the FA shoppers have their head’s up to start looking for other opportunities. However, one player who’s been being shopped under the radar has been Boston Celtics PG Rajon Rondo. Finding buyers is hard because since his on a one year deal no mediocre team will give up major assets for a one year rental, while most good teams don’t have the cap or need for his services. However, theirs very still some interesting suitors that would work with both Rondo and Boston. Here they are:

Option no.1= Houston Rockets

Boston Gets:

Omeir Asik

Montejunas

Clint Capela

Future 1st

This trade may or may be a possibility depending on if Asik is heading to New Orleans or not which was the report early in FA, but as of now his fair game. The pick gives Celtics a legit rim protector Center, a project in Clint Capela which they can play at either the 4 or 5, a serviceable big in Montejunas, and future 1st to add to the treasure chest. Houston can match Parsons deal and keep Terrence Jones while forming a Big 3 in Rondo, Harden, Howard. They’ll automatically be a favorite in the West, and players this takes a lot of burden of Harden to set himself and other players up on the offensive end.

Option no.2= Sacramento Kings

Boston Gets:

Aaron Gray

Derrick Williams

Ben Mclemore

Quincy Acy

This deal allows the Celtics to get an uprising SG in Ben Mclemore, and an attempt to see if they can make former lottery pick Derrick Williams turn the corner. They also receive a big center in Aaron Gray, and a solid role player in Quincy Acy. Sacramento will have the opportunity to do something that they haven’t done in almost a decade: win.

Option no.3= Indiana Pacers

Boston Gets:

Rajon Rondo

Avery Bradley

Indiana Gets:

Lance Stephenson

Roy Hibbert

The most unlikely deal, but if you think about it probably the most fair trade. Boston receives a true center , and a young versatile G/F in Lance Stephenson. Getting these two would create a defensive powerhouse in Smart/Stephenson and a rim protector they have desperately wanted in Hibbert. The Pacers get their all star pg, and rising star Sg to form a very formidable backcourt that works extremely well with PG and David West, and a way to first get good talent back for Stephenson, and two get rid of Hibbert which they were reportedly trying to do quietly. Indiana could bring up a few guys from the summer league that proved they could be great rim protectors (Willie Reed), and also bring in a guy like Chris Anderson to fill that Hibbert role. At the end of the day it ends up being a win for both teams.

State of Atlantic Division

The state of the Atlantic Division is very mixed considering the unique plans and situations that every team has. To attempt to give you a clearer understanding of each team we’ll discuss what they’ve done, and what they plan to do in the future if it’s actually possible, and see whether they’ll get better or worse this upcoming season.

  1. New York Knicks

  • Phil Jackson era is here, and he is wasting no time in getting the ball rolling. After making an amazing trade by dumping the bad contract of Raymond Felton and moving the disgruntled Tyson Chandler back to Dallas, the Knicks got a backcourt that’s full of shooters in Calderon, Larkin, and Ellington while acquiring two second round draft picks which ended up being Cleathony Early (who arguably should have been a first round pick), and Thanasis Antetokounmpo who is Giannis Antetokounmpo’s brother. The Knicks now seem to have roster spots filled for most of their backcourt and wing spots, and are in a position where if Melo comes back they can be in a good position to compete for a top 3 spot this upcoming season, but if he doesn’t they can begin building with this young core, and still be relatively competitive in this weak Eastern Conference. However, convincing Melo to pick this young promising core over a more accomplished team/core and another superstar might make this a tough sell. Jackson did a great job in proving that his ready and willing to make changes to make this team a winner, but it’s all going to come down to how much Melo loves New York, and if he wants to be the face of a franchise, and not a second wheel to a championship team.

  • Stock= Optimistic rising

  1. Toronto Raptors

  • After winning the Atlantic Division, memorizing the nation with their amazing fan base while giving that fan base a bright future to look forward too, the Raptors are self-destructing. With a middle of the pack draft pick in one of the deepest drafts since 2003, the Raptors selected little known Bruno Caboclo when their first option Tyler Ennis was taken. Caboclo is described as a project player who is apparently “two years away from being two years away”. Raptors took a for sure second round talent in the first round leaving guys like Cleathony Early, Shabazz Napier, Rodney Hood, P.J Hairston, and Kyle Anderson who could have made an instant impact for your up and coming franchise on the board. Raptors are one of those in the middle teams that I was discussing on my twitter page, but they were a middle team that was on the way up, but with recent developments they might be on the way down. Lowry who seems to already have one foot out the door is already falling in love with the idea of playing in Miami, and Toronto unlike the Knicks seems to be completely fine with letting their star go, in fact their already discussing sign and trade scenario’s with Miami as opposed to adding pieces to build a team that he would want to play with. I’ve heard that some people in Toronto’s front office believe his play was simply due to the fact that he was playing for a contract, and he will not be able to sustain that level of play, but I honestly think that Lowry was just put in an opportunity he had never been given before, and he excelled at it. Though free agency hasn’t started yet, and the Raptors could still very well possibly make some key moves it’s pretty obvious that you need a guy like Lowry to convince other FA’s to come to Toronto so without him it’s going South really fast for the guys up North.

    • Stock= Sky Diving

  1. Philadelphia Sixers- Sam Hinkie is doing what Hinkie does, build up assets and invest for the future. With the third and tenth pick in the draft he could have easily picked two high talented players that could have contributed to helping this team win immediately, but instead he picked the two guys who he thought had the highest ceilings, but neither of them are playing until next season. However, i’m really not sure if these were the best moves to make. Embiid is someone who I watched a lot of and he really is an interesting prospect, but his also a very raw prospect who got himself in foul trouble a lot, and is still trying to learn the game. When he was starting to make strides is when he got injured, so when he comes back continuing making those strides after a foot injury against NBA players and not the college players you were last playing is no easy task especially after not playing which could be up to a year and a half. Saric on the other hand was a good under the radar pick, he has a complete offensive game, and worst case scenario he’ll be a starter with average defense and a nice jumpshot, but his potential to be a 15ppg scorer and up when he eventually puts on the uniform. As far as this year Sixer fans should focus on the type of development made by K.J Mccdaniels and Jermai Grant both will at some point end up starting for this team, and they could make trading away a player like Thaddeus Young more easier along with building a bond with MCW and Noel. They will probably never be stars, but they can be at their best starters, and productive role players that they’ll need once they start trying to competitive again. Sixer fans might no like it, but another year of losing is very well on it’s way, so the best thing you can do is pay attention to the strides that these young guys make, and use it as a building block for the big 2015-2016 season.

  • Stock= Rising, slowly but surely

  1. Boston Celtics- To the Dismay of many Celtics fan we didn’t trade all our assets for Kevin Love, and began plotting on how to get Melo to form the new big 3. However, for the rest of us who knew this wasn’t going to happen, and actually know enough basketball have to be thrilled with what Boston has done. Not only did they get 2 of arguably the top 12 best players in a deep draft classes we were able to two bring in two guys who can grow into stars while now having the luxury of trading Rondo without having a glaring hole at the PG. What happened in 2007 isn’t going to happen again maybe ever for any franchise, and especially not with the same franchise all over again, and the quicker the fan base understands that the better. This is a transitional era in the East Coast, theirs a lot more mediocre teams than there are good teams so it’s the perfect time to build are team because theirs still the opportunity to be competitive. Spurs, Thunder, Pacers, Wizards, Portland, Golden State, and Phoenix are examples of teams that have built their franchises from the ground up and are now bound for success for the foreseeable future. Celtics have the PG (Marcus Smart), SG (James Young), and PF (Kelly Olynk, Jared Sullinger) already to jump start this process, by using their assets such as Rondo, Green, Bass, Bogans, Trade exception, and plethora of draft picks they could bring young players such as Chandler Parsons and Greg Monroe on our roster to begin building chemistry and making big strides for the future. Right now the balls in Danny Angie’s hand, he has all the assets to make good things happen for this franchise and has shown the patience to wait on good deals which we’ll need if we get serious about dealing Rondo. All in all theirs still a lot of questions to be answered for this franchise, but their in the drivers seat in terms of how to handle them.

  • Stock= Up and Coming

5. Brooklyn Nets- The Nets are entering another year with high title hopes, and like most fans they probably believe their fortune would have been different if Lopez didn’t go down for the year. Unfortunately their window may already be closed, with KG beyond a shell of himself and barley getting through a season, and an aging Paul Pierce who though his slow-mo game style preserves his body a lot more is now too slow to defend most Small Forwards and Shooting Guards and is now probably giving up too much size to compete down low against bigger Power forwards. Though they have just about the same roster they had last year except them getting into the draft to bring in Markell Brown which probably ends the tenure of the cold shooting Alan Anderson i think the Nets need more pieces that they just don’t have the money for. And to make things even worse Jason Kidd might be leaving to Milwaukee which even raises more questions like if players such as Kevin Garnett/ Paul PIerce will even come back and play for another coach. All in all i believe the Nets are just a middle of the pack team who will be forced to stay their until they are able the big contracts that are weighing them down

     *Stock = Slowly Sinking 

LA Lakers Roster projection

Lakers are entering a year in which they will look to completley re-tool their roster, and get back to the glory days. They may not be able to hit many home runs in this years free agency/ draft, but they have options that can make them a formidable team within the year. Here’s how:

1. Make a strong run at Kyle Lowry, and sign him.

2. Sign Maritian Gortat/ if not avaliable draft Noah Vonleh/Julius Randle

3. Resign Pau Gasol, Nick Young, and Jodie Meeks

4. Sign Rudy Gay

5. Bring in Richard Jefferson and D.J Augustine to complete bench.

Roster Projection Scenario A

Lowry

Bryant

Gay

Gasol

Gortat

Roster Projection B

Lowry

Bryant 

Gay

Vonleh/ Randle

Gasol

Bench

Farmar/Augustine

Meeks/Young

Jefferson/ Bazemore

Hill/Kelly

Sacre/ Kaman

Win Projection

47-50

New York Knicks: Roster Projection

The New York Knicks have been disappointing their dedicated fan base for a long time, and last year was no different. Their biggest headlines have been off the court with the signing of Phil Jackson, and the looming decision of where Superstar forward Carmelo Anthony will end up. With their roster a cap disaster, and no clear direction the Knicks may be in for a few more years of disappointment again if they continue to play this game of waiting for a superstar to hit the free agency market to save their dying franchise. After much deliberation I have decided a realistic game plan this summer that could help the Knicks not just build for right now, but for the long run which is something this franchise never seemed capable of doing.

  1. Lose the win now mentality. It’s been tried multiple times, and it’s failed multiple times, the best teams in the league with exception to the Heat have been dominant consistently because of their home grown talent, it’s time for the Knicks to catch up with the program.

  2. Trade Carmelo Anthony. Obviously Carmelo is a top 5 talent in this league, and no matter what you give him up for your always never going to get equal return. However, they’ll still get some type of return, and this return could help jump start them into their rebuilding process. The Chicago Bulls who have been recruiting Anthony since the All-Star break, but their cap won’t allow them to sign him to a max deal. In a sign-and-trade scenario however the teams would be able to work out something. My proposal would be Carmelo Anthony and Raymond Felton for Carlos Boozer, Kirk Hinrich, Jimmy Butler, and the 19th Pick in this years draft. The pick NY a valuable combo guard in Hinrich, a young defensive specialist in Jimmy Butler, a formidable Power Forward who can play Center in certain situation in Carlos Boozer, and a chance to draft in this years loaded draft class while shedding Felton’s contract.

  3. Trade Tyson Chandler. After getting rid of Melo, and beginning the inevitable rebuild the next thing to do is get rid of Chandler, he spent last year playing sub-par, and expressing his disappointment publicly so I feel a change of scenery would be most necessary. The Golden State Warriors are in desperate need of a man of Chandler’s services, and could greatly benefit from a big man in the Center who makes such an impact on the game defensively. A Possible trade could be Tyson Chandler and JR Smith for David Lee, Draymond Greene, and Jermaine O’Neal. This allows the Knicks to pick up valuable assets in David Lee and Draymond Greene while shedding the horrible contract they had in JR Smith, and arguably Chandler’s as well.

  4. Draft Shabazz Napier with the 19th pick. His been playing right around the corner at UCONN his had some sensational games at the Garden, and his a proven winner. He would bring an energy to the city with his remarkable ball handling, and cat-like quickness, and combined with Hardaway JR could form a great back court for years to come.

Opening night Starters

PG: Shabazz Napier

SG: Hardaway Jr.

SF: Jimmy Butler

PF: David Lee

C: Carlos Boozer

Bench:

PG’s: Hinrich, Prigioni

SG: Iman Shumpert, Shanon Brown

SF: Draymond Greene, Odom

PF: Lee, Amare, Kenyon Martin

C: Boozer, Barnaigni, Aldrich

Conclusion: If the Knicks were able to and did these moves they would be able to go from a team that many viewed as a laughing stock, and a fan base that is tired of waiting for superstars to a team a blue collar team that with the right coach could find themselves making some noise as a dark horse team in the playoffs. I could predict this team winning between 40-45 games. 

Roster Projections: Boston Celtics

The Boston Celtics are entering an off season with many questions, but many ways to solve this problem. With the assets amassed by Ainge the Celtics find themselves in a position where they can go in about 100 different ways in upgrading their roster. Celtics fans have gone crazy with the idea of Kevin Love, Gordon Hayward, and even Carmelo Anthony. Like most Boston natives I’m very familiar with how these hype factors always work out so instead of buying into it, I’ve decided to take a more realistic approach to what the lineup will look like for the 2014-2015 Boston Celtics.

The first idea we need to understand is that the Celtics weren’t as bad as their record indicated. Last of the games they lost 63% of them were by 10 points or less meaning that for a majority of their losses they were actually in all those games. Starting the year without Rondo, and not having a real facilitator or person who could create their own shot consistently enough plagued the Celtics, but they still went out and fought every game hard, which says a lot about the coaching staff they have in Boston. The reason for bringing this up is because I believe that Boston won’t reload this off season by throwing all their assets in one superstar, but by using their assets to attain primary needs that were much needed throughout their dreadful 2013 campaign.

One of the first things that Boston will want to address is their size, they haven’t had a true center since the departure of Kendrick Perkins, and it’s haunted them to this day. To solve this look no further than Greg Monroe. The 23 year old has spent his time playing out of position because of rising superstar Andre Drummond, but at 6’11 his shown he can score and defend while being a big rim protector that the Celtics have needed for years. Drummond is a restricted free agent, and with the Celtics cap situation I doubt that Boston could get him in that route, but through a sign and trade we can pull it off. The Celtics would send Kelly Olynk, and Avery Bradley to Detroit for Andre Drummond. Olynk, though a fan favorite wasn’t strong enough to play the 5 though he showed flashes, and he was seldom ever getting a chance to play his position because of the surplus of Power Forward’s. This move will allow him to develop at his natural position, and give Detroit a nice new young piece to work with. Bradley who was set to test free agency will be put in a system where he can only focus on playing the 2, with Jennings taking the lion’s share at ball handling duties. Both teams are given something that they wanted, and the numbers match-up correctly so I could fully see a deal like this coming about.

Next move Boston will make I believe will be acquiring a pick in the second round of this year’s draft. This draft doesn’t have many superstars, but it has a ton of players that can be role players and starters for years to come, even in the second round they’ll still be available talent that they can build with. The team with the most 2nd round picks is Philly, and they also have a disgruntled power forward in Thaddeus Young who wants to leave the team immediately. I believe the Celtics could swoop in and offer Brandon bass, and Vitor Favareni to Philadelphia for Thaddeus Young and a second round pick in this year’s draft. Philadelphia will get to grant Young his wish in leaving the team, and also acquire a player in Bass who can do just the same amount of things that young can do, and is a consistent professional who just wants to do his job and go home. Boston receives a solid role player who can provide good minutes, and start occasionally while securing a second round pick in this year’s draft.

The next step would be the NBA draft, because Boston has the sixth pick we won’t be getting Wiggins, Parker, Embiid, or Exum unless something miraculous happens, but I wouldn’t count on it. These would leave us to most likely draft the best player possible, which at 6 would be Marcus Smart. Smart is a natural born leader but more importantly his capable of playing both the one and the two and he has the physical tools, and IQ to start from day one. Though he has an inconsistent jump shot Ron Adams an assistant for Brad Stevens is regarded as a sort of jump shot guru, and with the work his done with Bradley and Rondo who’s jump shot were near nonexistence he could make a streaky shooter turn into a very consistent shooter. With the 17th pick the Celtics should look no further than P.J Hairston, he would have easily been a top 10 pick if he was in school, and Celtics would have a player that they could either start alongside Rondo or bring off the bench for offensive power. Finally, with the second round pick they would receive from Philadelphia the Celtics should take Deandre Daniels the forward from Uconn. His size fits the mode of a prototypical Small Forward, and his length gives him an advantage when taking difficult shots. While learning behind Gerald Wallace and Jeff Green he should be able to patch up the weak points of his game such as his defensive technique, and increasing mass so he can be impactful in the next level.

Finally, the last step the Celtics need to make is testing the free agency market for serviceable players. Their biggest goal should be to resign Spencer Hawes who along with Greg Monroe and Colton Iverson (bet you forgot about him) will give the Celtics more Center depth than they have had in years. Their next, and final signing should be re-signing Jerrad Bayless and Kris Humphries. Though I really considered that they should make a move for Jodie Meeks, I believe that Bayless will end up being the more productive player because he knows the system, and he can play both the one and the two which would give the Celtics 3 points guards who can play either spot (Rondo, Smart, Bayless). Signing Humphries gives us the necessary depth at Power Forward, and gives us another guy who knows the system, and can be productive when his number is called.

After all that my opening that starting 5 would be

PG: Rajon Rondo

SG: Marcus Smart

SF: Jeff Green

PF: Jared Sullinger

C: Greg Monore

Bench

PG’s: Jerrad Bayless, Phil Pressey

SG’s: P.J Hairston, Jerrad Bayless, Keith Bogans

SF’s: Gerald Wallace, Deandre Daniels

PF’s: Thaddeus Young, Kris Humphries

C’s: Hawes, Iverson

Final Verdict:

This Roster allows the Celtics to retain assets such as the Keith Bogans contract, and all are draft picks while allowing the team to get better by adding more talent in positions of need. It also creates a roster that has a young nucleus that can compete not just this year, but for years to come while under a good coaching system, and multiple draft picks for years to come to continue to blossom the team from the ground up which for the Celtics is usually the most realistic way. I would project this team to win 43-47 games.  

NBA Mock picks 21-30 

21. Oklahoma City- Montrezl Harrell
​Once Serge Ibaka went down, Oklahoma had no rim protector, and the Spurs are having away at them in the paint this series. Harrell is 20 years old with still a raw game, but very superb physical attributes that automatically give him minutes in the league. His energy on the defensive end will be a big boost of the bench for OKC, and can give them a chance to keep their rim presence even when Ibaka isn’t on the floor.
22. Memphis Grizzles- Jermai Grant
​Grizzles are in need of more production out of the 3 spot, and Grant can provide jus that. At 6’8 with a 7’2 wingspan and amazing physical attributes Grant excels at getting to paint and using his size. His not a finished product at the offensive end yet, his jumps shot could use some work, and there are some questions if some of these things can be fixed considering his already played two years in college. However, with the right coaching, he could fit the Luol Deng comparison, and even in some occasions play the 4 when Memphis is forced to go small.
23. Utah jazz- Glenn Robinson lll
​His size and athleticism will aide him in contributing to an NBA lineup, though I’m not sure how high his ceiling his worth the investment and with pro bloodlines his game could elevate when his given a chance to shine
24. Charlotte Hornets- Deandre Daniels
​With offensive power still in mind I expect Daniels to be selected here by Charlotte. Daniels is a give scorer who knows the game, and excelled in Coach Ollie’s system. Though I feel he needs to bulk up that fragile frame of his, he’ll be contributor the second he gets on a uniform.
25. Houston Rockets- Tyler Ennis
​Though Lin and Beverly can play, the Rockets need a true point guard who can do more than be effective on just one side of the floor, Ennis will solve this problem. At 19, Ennis has already showed the intangibles and the skill to be floor general his ceiling is very high, and putting him in a situation where he can play alongside James Harden, and Dwight Howard will take a lot of pressure off him while allowing him to improve as a player.
26. Miami Heat- Nick Johnson
​With the departure of Shane Battier, the aging Ray Allen and Dwayne Wade, and the possible departure of Chalmbers Miami find it with more questions than they’ve had since pre big 3 era. One of the ways to fix this is by adding athletic guard Nick Johnson. A tenacious the defender who excels in open space Johnson was put under a lot of pressure this year to run an offense though his game fits more of a 2 guard role. The problem with this is that his undersized the position and doesn’t have the necessary skill to be a true pg which brings up comparisons to Avery Bradley. However, playing in Miami means playing with Lebron James a player who enjoys playing the point more than any forward, and will take that pressure away from Johnson when his in the game during critical times. If Johnson can improve on his jump shot a little more to keep defenders honest he could be a key contributor in keeping Miami at the top of the East.
27. Phoenix Suns- C.J Wilcox
​After getting a reserve Point Guard look for the Suns to add another piece to their backcourt in C.J Wilcox has a proven shooter who will be able to stretch the floor and fits in well with their athletic roster.
28. Los Angeles Clippers- Doug Mcdermott
​Although many see Mcdermott going in the top 10 the fact that he really has no clear cut role in the NBA after playing four years is a big red flag for me, the offensive talent is there, but in terms of playing defensively I’m not sure how he can keep up in the NBA. However, if there’s anybody who can put talent to their highest potential it’s Rivers. The Clippers really have no pressing need so they can take a chance with Mcdermott, and hope that maybe the lack of pressure will make him a contributor offensively.
29. Oklahoma City- Zach Lavine
​His nowhere near NBA ready and anyone who’s watched a UCLA game will attest to that. However with great athleticism and a huge upside he can turn into a starter with the right guidance. Don’t expect him to make much noise for at least a season or two, this is definitely a project player.
30. San Antonio Spurs- Clint Capela
​The international player has a huge upside that has a Kevin Durant type body, and dribbling ability to go with it. Though his offensive game is still raw, and he still doesn’t truly believe his a big man, playing under Coach Popavich could be great in helping him establish a position, and exploiting his athletic strengths .

Mock Draft 1.0 (11-20)

11. Denver Nuggets- Gary Harris
​Harris is a deadly shooter who can take care of ball handling duties at times when Lawson wants to play off ball, this could be an explosive backcourt

12. Orlando Magic- Rodney Hood
​After nabbing a point guard Orlando gets a good wing player in Rodney Hood, he might not be a starter by day one, but he’ll be in the first man off the bench, and make that team that much better with his polished offensive game, and energy on defense.

13. Minnesota Timberwolves- Dario Saric
​Minnesota loves international players, and I expect no different here. Saric is a 6’10 forward who is great and transition, and has unique ball handling ability.

14. Phoenix Suns- Elfrid Payton
​The more I see this kid, the more and more I like him. Great size, good finisher, and can get to paint along with being a very unselfish player. Though his outside shot needs work as long as his high turnover rate he’ll be put in a reserve role in Phoenix where he can run the second unit and learn from Dragic. This also allows Phoenix to get a legitimate backup PG

15. Atlanta- Nik Stauskas
​Atlanta needs a legit two guard, and they just might end up getting one of the best in the draft at this pick. Stauskas has proven that his more than just a shooter, and can take over at point for stretches in the game, though he’ll need to adjust to the defenses that will be thrown at him in the NBA he’ll be able to crack a starting rotation, and instantly make Atlanta a better team

16. Chicago- T.J Warren
​If there’s one thing in the world that T.J Warren can do its put the ball in the basket, and if there’s one thing the Chicago Bulls can’t do is score. The NC State star can light up a scoreboard, and though his 3pt shot is still a work in progress, you’ll be hard pressed to find a more polished offensive talent in this draft.

17. Boston Celtics- P.J Hairston
​The former UNC star would probably be a top 10 pick if it wasn’t for him being expelled from school. However, in the D-league he proved that he was ready to be an NBA player, which shows a lot considering the rising talent the D-league has to offer. Boston needs a go to scorer in the crunch time, Jeff Green proved he couldn’t be that on a consistent basis, but Hairston just might be the guy that can.

18. Phoenix- Cleathon Early
​Wouldn’t be shocked if Phoenix trades this pick if the opportunity arises, but if they don’t Early is their best option, his a polished forward that has the ability to strengthen their team the moment he steps on the court.

19. Chicago- Shabazz Napier
​Derrick Rose is unreliable, as much of a superstar he is it’s been two straight seasons that his injuries have left the Bulls handicapped, and the team has struggled tremendously. Napier brings 4 years of college experience, proven leadership, superb handling skill, court vision, and knows how to score around the basket. Even if Rose comes back completely healthy, having Napier will keep their point guard position strong in case of an injury, and give the Bulls an extra guard who can play on and off the ball.

20. Toronto- Kyle Anderson
​With the future of Kyle Lowry in a limbo, and their need for another polished player Anderson seems like the perfect fit. His unique ball handling skills at 6’9 and his ability to slow the game down to his pace has had some comparing his game to Magic Johnson. Though I doubt he’ll ever be Magic one thing he can do is run and offense while being patient with his own which could do wonders for a young raptors team whether he comes off the bench or gets a crack at the starting lineup.